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02 April 2018 @ 01:43 pm
The Randomiser: Evil of the Daleks  
"It's a shame more of this one doesn't exist," Tame Laymen remarked halfway throught the lone surviving episode of Evil of the Daleks. It's another story which very much reflects the serialised form of Doctor Who's roots starting out as a detective drama/investigation in contemporary London to discover who has stolen the Tardis, moving back to Victorian England for a gothic tale that hints at possession and an episode which is devoted to Jamie overcoming traps and obstacles as he seeks to rescue Victoria before moving forward to the Daleks' futuristic city.

Each part has a very different tone and a somewhat different cast of characters. I think the first segment is probably the strongest with its pace driven by the mystery. The second part is more confused, in particular it isn't quite clear the extent to which incidental characters such as Ruth Maxtible are complicit in events (at the very least she is ignoring a lot of distinctly suspect goings on) and the rescue of Victoria, while entertaining enough, is clearly largely an excuse to fill an episode with a small quest narrative and random obstacles. However, while somewhat confused, it has plenty of atmosphere and enough narrative to keep the story moving. The final part harks back to The Daleks with our characters imprisoned in their city for mysterious purposes and it benefits from the strong design of that earlier story. The battle between the Dalek factions at the end, which has been the source of some derision, looked better than I expected (at least in still photographs).

We watched the loose canons reconstruction of this and they had really gone to town in some places with standins for some of the characters (filmed from behind) and CGI renderings of people climbing ropes etc. Monsters like the Daleks are obviously gifts to animators with their clean lines and simple shapes and the reconstruction made full use of this.

I think Tame Layman is correct, if I were making a list of stories I would like to see returned this would come quite high. Not necessarily at the top because I think I would currently reserve that for The Myth Makers, but certainly close.

This entry was originally posted at https://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/493909.html.
daniel_saunders: Leekleydaniel_saunders on April 2nd, 2018 01:49 pm (UTC)
It is very good. I probably under-rate it a little, simply because for a long time the audio (the cassette! That's how far back I'm going) was one of the few TV stories I owned, so I listened to it many times and became over-familiar (I wore the tape out in the end and was glad when it was released on CD).

I actually like the shift in story style, which I think makes it feel more epic. I read someone recently complain that one of the common failings of classic Who was telling a different story in the last episode to that which was started in the first, but I feel that while this is sometimes a problem, at other times it can be turned into an advantage. Evil (like the other great Troughton epic, The War Games) uses its scale and scope to really make you feel like you've been on a journey across time and space; it's not just running up and down the same corridors for three hours. It probably does complement The Power of the Daleks quite nicely, perhaps deliberately. It's as if David Whitaker said, "I did a sort of chamber piece for the Daleks seven months ago, so this time I'll go to the other extreme and do an all-out epic." Up until this point in Doctor Who only The Daleks' Master Plan had even attempted a story on such a grand scale and this is far superior.

There are some great performances too, particularly Troughton (probably one of his best performances in the role) and John Bailey as Waterfield, who really does come across as being trapped in a living nightmare. I wish we could see more of it, as the surviving episode makes the direction look pretty good too, by the standards of the time.
louisedennis: Who:Daleklouisedennis on April 2nd, 2018 07:21 pm (UTC)
I think in my mind this story was all about the Victorian segments (I wonder if the various synopses tend to dwell on that part more) so I was quite surprised to find out how much of this isn't set in Victorian England at all.